Version Control Systems (VCS)

Version control is every application developer’s nightmare. It’s hard enough to keep track of a single function within an application, let alone when you’re pursuing multiple development paths at a time where the amendments may or may not make the cut for the next release. One way of making this easier is Git Version Control.

About Git Version Control

The stand out feature of Git Version control is its ability to handle branching during development paths and then merging them again later on for product releases.

It allows for easy context switching. For example, it’s simple to create a new branch within Git Version Control and then experiment with ideas. You can then move back to before the branch and apply a patch. Following that you can then merge the patch with the experimental branch.

Another clever feature is the ability to develop role-based code-lines. In essence, you can develop a single branch that always leads to your production environment, additional branches that move to your test environments and then other branches that exist for day-to-day maintenance activity.

This multiple branching environments method allows you to create a branch for every single feature that you’re developing. Git Version Control then allows you to eliminate that branch and merge it with the production environment once it’s been accepted for your release.

That also supports further experimentation. If you develop a branch for a feature, play with it and then realize that it’s not going to add any value in the release, you can simply dispose of it without affecting any of the rest of the branches. You can keep pushing new branches even while you’re experimenting with others. The idea behind this is that it frees up your developers to be creative. They’ve no fear that an experiment is going to negatively impact a release schedule and they don’t need to spend time planning how features will eventually merge with the production environment.

Speed Advantages over Other Version Control Applications

Git Version Control is also extremely fast, particular when you compare it to other version control packages. That’s because it’s designed for a Linux environment where most of the execution occurs locally rather than on a server. In tests, Git Version Control demonstrates performance an order of magnitude better than SVN. It’s worth noting that during the initial clone operation this isn’t the case – that’s because Git Version Control places the entire project history locally rather than maintaining it on the server alone.

Distribution for Security Advantages

The data is thus “distributed” on every machine that’s running Git Version Control. There’s a big advantage there from a development security point of view. Even if your main server should fail and all redundancy efforts fail with it – you don’t lose your data because in essence every local user with Git installed has a full copy of the central data repository.

That distributed model allows Git Version Control to support pretty much any kind of development workflow. It certainly supports the big three of traditional development workflow models: subversion-style, integration management, and the dictator and lieutenants workflow models.

The data is further assured by all files being checksummed when they’re deposited and again when they’re retrieved. It’s physically impossible for anything stored within Git Version Control to be changed without your consent.

Staging before Committing

Git Version Control also offers a handy staging area where you can format and review any commits before you complete them. You only need to pull up the files you’re working with in this area and don’t have to retrieve the whole project to manage a commit.

Open Source

The final advantage of Git Version Control is its open source nature. You can download, keep, and even amend the source code. That means your developers can tweak the way it works, in house, without major expenses.

The great news for Git Version Control users is that it works very well in a cloud computing model. Developers can use GitHub which has been the best traditional cloud support for Git or they might want to spend a little time checking out Bitbucket, the latest offering from Atlassian. Bitbucket’s been given a substantial upgrade to ensure that it delivers the performance you’d expect with cloud based Git support. That’s good news for the development community as there’s finally some competition in the cloud based version control support department and competition normally leads to less expense and better features for everyone.

Our consulting agency, Devops Israel, has been doing educational presentation and helping developers better use Git in large and small development teams. If your company is interested to learn more about Git, or start using it more effectively than you already do, contact us for an offer.

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